What can be done to address the decline in industry and increased unemployment across Ireland?
As the number of people unemployed rises steadily, Labour Exchanges throughout the country are full of men queuing to collect the dole.
Labour Exchanges were supposed to be a place to find employment but have become a place providing payments to those temporarily out of work and the chronically unemployed. For those without any skills, finding a job with decent pay is virtually impossible. For many, emigration is the only option in order to support themselves and their families. Some of the men in the queue outline their situations and the challenges they face in finding employment.
Industry is in decline in Ireland resulting in the loss of jobs. One such company experiencing problems is Unidare, a massive complex of factories near Dublin that makes a range of aluminium and metal products.
It's modern, highly mechanised and expanding.
Part of the problem for Unidare is that it Its products are largely used by other industries and many of the firms that it supplies are cutting back due to a decline in their own industries. As a result, Unidare is cutting back on its labour force. Workers who would normally expect permanent employment are now being let go.Unidare also face challenges trying to maintain their exports which two years ago accounted for about fifty per cent of their production. However, this has fallen to about thirty per cent.
General Manager of Unidare Brian Gillespie describes the reduction in the level of production and how the demand for their products is affected by performance of other industries. Higher wages and salaries have also put extra financial pressure on the business. This in turn has increased costs and reduced competitiveness both in Ireland and overseas. He is however hopeful that they can maintain their current level of activity without making further lay-offs. He is not so optimistic that membership of the EEC will help to alleviate any of their challenges as they face increased competition from overseas. He advocates for government intervention through the reduction of corporation tax in the next budget which he believes to be excessive. He would also like to see further incentives for exporting companies whereby there would be benefits directly to the employees.
'7 Days’ broadcast on 16 April 1971. The reporter is John Feeney.